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Old 25-09-2015, 08:37   #1
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FCC Radio Station Authorization

I recently renewed our FCC License on line and it cost $215!
That seems excessive (a rip off).
Any idea why it cost so much?
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Old 25-09-2015, 09:41   #2
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Ron,
While $215 isn't cheap, in my opinion, it's not a rip off...
And, remember, in this case (our marine radio licensees), it is a user fee...and I think a user fee (paid only by those that need/use that service) is much better than a "tax", that everyone pays!
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonT View Post
I recently renewed our FCC License on line and it cost $215!
That seems excessive (a rip off).
Any idea why it cost so much?
And, that's $21.50/yr....or < $2/month....



And, as for "why"???
Take you pick!
--- 'cause they can...
--- 'cause they "need" the money...
--- 'cause congress told 'em to increase fees, in order to allow spending more money...
--- etc.

In years past it used to be $60, and then $120 (?), and then $160 (?).....and since we're talking about the US Government here, they (the respective agencies) are always "wasting" money, instead of spending it on what many of us consider "useful" matters...but the fact is that what one person thinks is "useful", another thinks is "wasteful", and vice versa....ah, they joys of our modern society!!!

But again, in this case, it is a user fee...and I think a user fee (paid only by those that need/use that service) is much better than a "tax", that everyone pays!



Fair winds..

John
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Old 25-09-2015, 10:18   #3
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Hi ... I just registered and this is my FIRST post. Regarding the FCC fee for Part 80 Maritime Mobile service ... it all depends upon what you want to do and what you want to use your radio for. In the case of Amateur Radio (FCC Part 97) there is NO cost for a license ... good for ten (10) years and no cost to renew it for another ten.
My specialty will be limited to marine mobile service, operation and installation advice.
If your concern is only the fee ... what is ....is.
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Joe W4CBJ St. Pete, FL
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Old 25-09-2015, 10:46   #4
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Quote:
Originally Posted by Extra Class View Post
Hi ... I just registered and this is my FIRST post. Regarding the FCC fee for Part 80 Maritime Mobile service ... it all depends upon what you want to do and what you want to use your radio for. In the case of Amateur Radio (FCC Part 97) there is NO cost for a license ... good for ten (10) years and no cost to renew it for another ten.
My specialty will be limited to marine mobile service, operation and installation advice.
If your concern is only the fee ... what is ....is.
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Joe W4CBJ St. Pete, FL
That's right, but if you need an MMSI number that you can use outside the US and legally use a marine SSB radio, you need the ships stations license and radio telegraph license, for $210. You have no choice. Recently I helped a friend with this, recalling that I paid about $160 - I was very surprised that it jumped to over $200.

On the positive note, if you have problems with your license and you call the FCC, a real live knowledgeable person answers the phone immediately and can help with your question/problem. Obviously they've invested the time and money in customer support.
Don
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Old 25-09-2015, 11:51   #5
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

It IS a rip off. It used to be $75 and under the Reagan administration the FCC was supposed to set and charge fees based on the cost of the services supplied. There's no way in hell that putting your name in a database costs $215.


When asked how they justify the new fee, or what basis they used to set it that high, the FCC simply will not answer. (Which is also illegal.)


Your best bet is to write your Congresscritter and have them ask the FCC the same question. Congresscritters can do nasty things to government agents who fail to answer questions about their finances.
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Old 26-09-2015, 09:00   #6
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Count your blessings... here in Canada a vessel station license $36... per year.

OTOH, one can get a "real" (i.e. internationally valid) MMSI (the only kind we have: 316nnnnnn) from Industry Canada for free. My last one for a handheld (8316nnnn), requested via email, came in two hours.
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Old 26-09-2015, 12:18   #7
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
It IS a rip off. It used to be $75 and under the Reagan administration the FCC was supposed to set and charge fees based on the cost of the services supplied. There's no way in hell that putting your name in a database costs $215.

When asked how they justify the new fee, or what basis they used to set it that high, the FCC simply will not answer. (Which is also illegal.)

Your best bet is to write your Congresscritter and have them ask the FCC the same question. Congresscritters can do nasty things to government agents who fail to answer questions about their finances.

Oh, easily. In order to enter a name, first the database must exist. And an access/sharing system must exist. And it must work 100% of the time.

Which means design, develop, test, make legally-compliant, house, implement, maintain, and service... for the life of the products. And then when the hardware and operating systems are OBE, do it all over again.

IOW, adding one name is trivial, but creating the system in the first place is not. A user fee for entering a name is more like collecting a relatively small contribution toward all that previous and on-going expense.

Not defending anybody here, just mentioning that industrial-strength IT hardware/software/workforce can cost a lot.

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Old 26-09-2015, 14:24   #8
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Chris, that's like saying it should cost a fortune to paint my room, because the painter must first mine the pigments and manufacture the paint, all custom to my job.


Just ain't so.


A radio licensee database is about as plain and simple a commodity-grade database as you could want. The FCC already owned (past and present) multiple databases that all do the same thing and in fact if you have an FRN (one FCC ID that links all your licenses) you have everything in the same database, the same CHEAP multifunctional database that is priced at many different prices for different users.


Development costs? Hell no, not when you can buy it in any software store or download it from any open source project library.


I go the hardware store, for $25 I buy a gallon of paint. I don't pay someone a hundred grand to reinvent "paint" for the project.


And the license program WAS already online and using the same, or a similar, database when it was making a profit at $75.


The fact that the FCC refuses to comment on how the cost was arrived at, when they are mandated to use cost-based pricing, says it all.
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Old 26-09-2015, 16:32   #9
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

As Ranger pointed out, it isn't just the cost of adding a name to a database. I suspect that they also have to account for costs associated with managing emergency services -- such as responding to epirb alerts, which of course require additional computer systems and all the interfaces required to talk with the various systems worldwide.

I for one also hate spending money unnecessarily, but would probably consider it a real deal should I ever have to fire off my epirb or ssb 'in anger'.
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Old 26-09-2015, 16:42   #10
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

In that case per the Congressional mandates, there would be a "EPIRB registration fee" since there is no correlation or other firm basis on which to say "VHF licensees cause EPIRB costs".


And again, it would be SO easy for the FCC to say "this is the cost basis, it includes operating the SAR system". Which, incidentally, is not operated by the FCC and incurs no costs to the FCC. SAR is run by other agencies, and NOAA administers the EPIRB registration, not the FCC.


If there was a simple rational reason for the fee, the FCC wouldn't be so adamant about refusing to state the cost basis that they are required to have for it. Now would they? Really?


And when they REDUCED the fee, maybe ten years ago, from something like $265 to $215? You think they got a 25% discount on something and passed it along? Again, really?
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Old 26-09-2015, 19:54   #11
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

[QUOTE=hellosailor;1923574]Chris, that's like saying it should cost a fortune to paint my room, because the painter must first mine the pigments and manufacture the paint, all custom to my job.


Just ain't so.
QUOTE]

Your reasoning is based upon a poor assumption. You have assumed that you don't pay the paint store for the cost of research and development. You DO! The big difference is that the research and development costs to make the paint are amortised over the millions and millions of gallons of paint sold. But the boaters share of the cost of operating the FCC must be amortised over a far fewer number of boaters. There's probably fewer boaters in the United states than the number of gallons of paint sold EACH DAY.
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Old 26-09-2015, 20:10   #12
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

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Originally Posted by Redline452 View Post
Count your blessings... here in Canada a vessel station license $36... per year.

OTOH, one can get a "real" (i.e. internationally valid) MMSI (the only kind we have: 316nnnnnn) from Industry Canada for free. My last one for a handheld (8316nnnn), requested via email, came in two hours.
That's real nice...now how much do you pay for marine charts for Canadian waters?
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Old 26-09-2015, 21:19   #13
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Not sure that comparing Reagan era price of anything has to with this. The price of a gallon of milk was less than a dollar back then as well. Unless you are just trying to stir up bi-partisan debate.

Less than $25 a year, only need to do it every 10 years, this is about the smallest cost of anything for a boat, and really not worth getting upset about.

If you want to get upset look at 6 month back log, have to do it every year USCG documentation process.



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Old 26-09-2015, 21:35   #14
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

Jman-
No one mentioned "Reagan era pricing". Reagan SET THE MANDATE that pricing has to be based on costs. As the costs change, the pricing is supposed to change. It isn't supposed to stay what is was, but it is supposed to reflect current operational costs.


Crabtree-
"But the boaters share of the cost of operating the FCC must be amortised over a far fewer number of boaters." OK, so why won't the FCC release the figures that they used? Why do you need to file an FOA order to forcibly obtain them?
You really think the FCC spends a lot of money to maintain a list of VHF radio licensees? I've worked in IT, I know what it costs to have a database of mainly infrequently changed, infrequently accessed records. PEANUTS. Think about what it costs any merchant to maintain a database of customers and users. Do you think CF pays $215 every ten years, per person, to maintain their list of forum members? Come on, really. Maintaining a database costs pennies--literally pennies--per user per year. The FCC doesn't need exotic server farms to maintain this stuff, it is all commodity level stuff.
The proof lies in their other licenses and services, many of which (like a ham radio license, $14 for ten years) are a tiny fraction of what the VHF license costs, and the costs of maintaining the database itself sure as hell aren't any higher.
$14 versus $215, for the same computer operations, for the same period of time. At the same mandated "cost plus" basis. Gee...explain that away.
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Old 27-09-2015, 01:25   #15
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Re: FCC Radio Station Authorization

The government is broke. Standby for much more.
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